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By Derek Lundy

“Fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that so authoritatively brings to life what it was like to sail a square-rigged vessel.”
-Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In The Heart Of the Sea

“An exceptionally rich and satisfying weave … Heir to the tradition of Dana, Melville, Conrad, Lundy is so intelligent and vivid a writer that The Way of a Ship earns its place as a worthy twenty-first century descendant of such classics as Two Years Before the Mast
and Typhoon.”
-Jonathan Raban, author of Passage to Juneau


 

Lundy_The Way of a Ship

In The Way of a Ship Derek Lundy offers a magnificent re-creation of a square-rigger voyage round Cape Horn at the end of the 19th century. Placing his seafaring great-great uncle, Benjamin Lundy, on board the Beara Head, Lundy brings to life the ship’s community as it performs the exhausting and dangerous work of sailing a square rigger across the sea. The “beautiful, widow-making, deep-sea” sailing ships could sail fast in almost all weather and carry substantial cargo. Handling square-riggers demanded detailed and specialized skills, and life at sea, although romanticized by sea-voyage chroniclers, was often brutal. Seamen were sleep deprived and malnourished, at times half-starved, and scurvy was still a possibility.

As Benjamin Lundy nears the Horn and its attendant terrors, the traditional qualities of the sailor – fatalism, stoicism, courage, obedience to a strict hierarchy, even sentimentality – are revealed in their dying days, as sail gave way to steam.


“Lundy fills scene after scene of almost sniffable atmosphere with compelling and believable details … His creation and control of his characters could satisfy a boatload of novelists.”
The Sunday Times

“Convincing dialogue crests on rippling waves of fiction, yet readers will surface with a strong sense of seagoing history, a knowledge of the specialized skills involved in keeping square-riggers afloat and a respect not only for the fierce power of the elements but also for Lundy’s considerable talent as a writer.”
Publishers Weekly

“A fantastic ride through one of the greatest moments in the history of adventure….Lundy is a master of tension and storytelling….[he] documents life under sail as few others have, joining a pantheon of master author-sailors such as Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville and Richard Henry Dana.”
Seattle Times

“Lundy fills scene after scene of almost sniffable atmosphere with compelling and believable details … His creation and control of his characters could satisfy a boatload of novelists.”
The Sunday Times

“This book gets off to a screaming start … [Lundy] has saltwater in his blood and his knowledge of the most arcane seafaring terms and traditions, coupled with careful research on 19th-century square-rigger voyages, makes this a tremendously elucidating, frequently thrilling, read.”
Sunday Telegraph

“Derek Lundy captures all the hardships and the perils of a sailing ship voyages through the eyes of Benjamin and with a wonderful grasp of the language that evocate the sheer power and terrible penalties paid by crewmen to keep commerce flowing.”
Bristol Evening Post

“The setting – the sea – ultimately becomes the principal character in this gorgeous book and, as a protagonist, Lundy’s ocean is as real and nuanced and true as Emma Bovary.”
The Globe And Mail

“Lundy, an experienced mariner, sailed within sight of Cape Horn to gain a first-hand feel for the conditions. He understands the lore and has a passion for the material, delivering powerful and occasionally poetic descriptions.”
The Toronto Star

“An engrossing, entertaining, if at times overwhelming, read.”
The Chronicle-Herald


Publisher:

Knopf Canada, 2003

HarperCollins, U.S., 2004

Cape (Random House), 2003

Awards:

Chosen as one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books of the Year

Other Books by Derek Lundy